I believe in providing consultative, collaborative, and strategic leadership.
I currently serve on the board of the Northwest Community Legal Clinic, as President of the Rainy River Law Association, and as co-chair of Borderland Pride. I am a past president of the Law Students’ Society of Ontario and recently concluded a term on the Law Society of Ontario’s Equity Advisory Group.
I am accustomed to the oversight and consultative functions of these groups, and of the ongoing need to align our decision-making with the best interests of the community of people these organizations represent.
To that end, I believe the next council needs to look for new ways to engage the community in the business of council–whether online or through the meeting format itself.
Transparency, open doors, and participation should be the rule, never the exception.
My work on council will also be informed by my work as a lawyer and my experience in public policy.
I am attuned to evaluating legal implications and risks, and to finding creative strategies to moderate those risks. I am looking forward to using my communications and advocacy skills to stand up for our community’s needs.
I intend for my work in economic development and my positive relationships with First Nations, provincial, and federal leaders to help drive some of our community’s priorities and build alliances on regional priorities.
Old ways won’t open new doors. While I intend to bring fresh perspective and to ensure that younger residents have a voice on council, it is clear that there are some imminent challenges that need to be addressed.
Top of mind are the future of the shuttered Resolute mill (or the lands on which it is situated), the prevalence of discarded needles in our community, and the need to address the issues surrounding the Point Park.
Some of these issues are interconnected, and require novel solutions. Could a curfew on our parks give police grounds to keep drug use out of our public spaces? Will assisted living be more viable if it is subsidized with independent living units in the same building?
Can we align our branding and identity with other communities in the district to position ourselves as a full-service, quality-of-life destination? And are there different models for taxation of infrastructure like railways to improve our financial resources?
A sustainable future for Fort Frances is one that plots its strategies for service delivery, investment in public facilities and spaces, and economic development with its changing demographics and industry in mind.
The Northern Policy Institute projects that by 2041, up to one-third of the Rainy River District’s population will be age 65 or older (up from just 18 percent right now).
And while our overall population is shrinking, we know that the Indigenous proportion is growing-and is expected to account for 40 percent of our district’s population within 20 years.
Obviously, we need to ensure that our community is equipped to meet the needs of an aging population, but we can’t meet that challenge if we do not have the assets and investments in place to attract, nurture, and retain the younger families and service providers to care for them.
From an economic standpoint, we know that the lifecycle of a mine–an industry based on a non-renewable resource – is far more finite than that of a paper mill. We need to be prepared for the economic shifts to come.